Seven minutes and everything changed. Real Madrid again pulled out of a desperate situation to win against Manchester City (3-1), Wednesday, May 4, in the semi-final return of the Champions League. Thanks to a double from Rodrygo at the end of regulation time (90, 90 + 3), the Merengues snatched the extension. Karim Benzema tipped the match in favor of his team by obtaining and converting a penalty (94th). What to open the doors of the final, scheduled for May 28 at the Stade de France, against Liverpool.
Again, football fans were not disappointed with the storyline. With Madrid trailing 1-0 and Cityzens already seeing themselves in the final, Real repeated their exploits in the round of 16 against Paris and in the quarters against Chelsea. It took until the 90th minute to witness their first shot on target, just before Rodrygo’s goal came off the bench. A little late, but enough to restart the match (City were nine shots on target).
90 – Rodrygo is the first player to score twice in the 90th minute of a Champions League knockout game. Mad. pic.twitter.com/s0eqXTBsQ4
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) May 4, 2022
Three minutes before the equalizer (87th), City had failed to break and take a three-goal lead. If Ferland Mendy had not thrown himself on his line against Jack Grealish, the players of Real would never have been able to put on the flocked jerseys “a por la 14” (“on the way to the 14th” Champions League), which awaited them warm, prepared despite the defeat (3-4) in the first leg at the Etihad Stadium.
Pep Guardiola’s players looked sheltered, yet failed to produce their best football. The opener by Riyad Mahrez (73rd), on a shot from the left foot, had allowed them to set foot in the final and lead 5-3 on all of the two confrontations.
On the side of Real Madrid, we rather retained the faults committed in the first period, by Casemiro in particular, and the overall technical waste. Thus, in the first period, Karim Benzema failed to frame any of his shots. Returning from the locker room, after only ten seconds of play (46th), Vinicius, perfectly served by Dani Carvajal, missed the target alone in front of goal.
Finally, as every time he was expected this season, Karim Benzema appeared at the best time. It was he who first offered the goal of hope to Rodrygo (1-1), thanks to an extension of the left foot of rare flexibility for a 34-year-old player. If he hadn’t pulled away on a ball in the box in extra time, putting his foot in front of Ruben Dias to push him to the fault, Real then might never have taken the advantage. Obviously, Real owes him a lot in his 17th qualification in the Champions League final.